The vaccination drive against coronavirus will start in India on January 16 with an estimated three crore healthcare and frontline workers on the top of the priority list. “On 16th January, India takes a landmark step forward in fighting COVID-19. Starting that day, India’s nation-wide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers, frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on Twitter.

After the priority group, a voluntary vaccination will be available for those above 50 years of age and people with co-morbidities. Around 27 crore Indians come under this category.

The National Regulator has approved two vaccines, Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, for emergency use.

The Health Ministry said in a release that the vaccination will be “driven by technology” to ensure a smooth run. A digital platform called Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System will be used for the vaccination.

“The vaccination exercise will use the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari), experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP). There will be no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programmes and primary health care. We aim for it to be an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology,” the ministry stated.

“The digital platform will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement read further.

Recently, the health ministry completed a dry run across the country.

“The third dry run was conducted on Friday across 615 districts covering 4,895 session sites in 33 States/UTs. After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc., the COVID-19 vaccination will start following the festivals,” the Ministry noted.